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Radio payola, it just never went away
March 3, 2003 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Silly listeners. Payola in radio isn't "back", it's just back in the news. Read how more than ever radio airplay is not determined by you, creativity, inspiration, nor musical genius, but by the big green. More reasons to try xm?
posted by omidius (17 comments total)

 
I used to care about payola, but now I've stopped. I feel much better now.

I listen to college radio stations because in general they allow the DJs more free reign to spin what they like-- though I know it's not complete freedom. I seek out local music as much as I can, and I make it a point to buy CDs directly from the artists whenever possible.

I think our time is better spent trying to get the artist a fair shake from the record company than worrying about how the record company is paying the radio stations, IMHO.

Oh, and do you REALLY think XM is any different? All XM does is limit your exposure to new music by channeling you into narrow categories.
posted by Cerebus at 9:41 AM on March 3, 2003


good article, thanks....and I'm a big fan of local stations
posted by jacobsee at 9:55 AM on March 3, 2003


local stations really are the way to go. much higher signal to crap ratio, that's for sure. (:
posted by sarajflemming at 9:59 AM on March 3, 2003


exactly. how do you think those songs get on xmradio?

and actually, payola's been back in the news for a few years now. it seems like this topic comes up every spring.

(imnsho) the theft of our airwaves is one of the worst crimes perpetrated by/in the US (choosing to ignore for a second that whole "let's kill all the natives and grab the land" charade).

yet this story reappears year after year and no one (i.e. no one "important" enough to shape legislation) seems to care.

another sad thought for a gloomy day.

another imnsho, our time is better spent experiencing whatever good music we can for *free,* or at least where we can be sure that the money we spend goes (mostly) to the artists.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:59 AM on March 3, 2003


not uncommon story here: Media conglomerate with a market value of $25 billion (with a b) is fined $8000 by the FCC for taking payola to play a Bryan Adams song. But count me amongst those who think radio died a long time ago.

Meanwhile I guess I don't agree with the previous caller: I'm not convinced protecting sucker kids from evil rock and roll rip-off assholes is the best use of Feingold's time and energy.
posted by victors at 10:20 AM on March 3, 2003


More reason to go out and buy your own albums and make your own decesions as to what you do or do not listen to.
posted by Satapher at 10:31 AM on March 3, 2003


it's more than "protecting sucker kids from evil rock and roll rip-off assholes." it really is protecting "radio as a medium for democracy."

it may not be as important now that we've got other avenues of free expression and information (most notably online), but part of the requirements of a broadcasting license is that the companies that acquire them must serve the public interest. quite simply, they are not.

for all the other crap that politicians spend their time on (read: homeland defense), i think this deserves a little effort.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:33 AM on March 3, 2003


From "Hey Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had a Deal" by They Might Be Giants:
I could never sleep my way to the top
'Cause my alarm clock always wakes me right up
And since my options had been whittled away
I struck a bargain with my radio DJ
I said I'd like this song to be number one
He said "I'd really really like to help you my son"
And then I knew that I would have him to thank
Because he asked me how much I had in the bank

He said to think long term investment and
That all the others had forgiven themselves
He said the net reward would justify
The colossal mess they'd made of their lives

He said the record wouldn't have to be hot
And no one ever seemed to care if it's not
It would depend on something else that I've got
And that the other ones who'd given it a shot
Had seen a modest sum grow geometrically
And then they had forgiven themselves
Because the net reward had justified
The colossal mess they'd made of their lives.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:38 AM on March 3, 2003


What the heck. At least there's more variety with sat radio. And with Sirius there aren't any commercials.

Of course, it does cost ten cents a day more.

JB
posted by JB71 at 12:44 PM on March 3, 2003


I guess I've never been all that interested in radio, but in my early college years, the local stations did play some music I still have fond memories for. But these days, those stations are gone, and I can't stand the utter lack of variety in what's played. It's not even the quality of the music, but the pure overload of hearing the same. songs. over. and. over. all. day. It's the same on every station.

As for satellite radio, I have trouble believing it's all that much different from the music channels my dad has on his digital cable package--which is to say that it's even worse than regular radio, but in a different way.

The only music programs on the radio I enjoy anymore are the local bits where the DJs play a bunch of rarely-heard gems and personal favorites of theirs, complete with lots of context that makes it all the more interesting. When I lived in KC, we had such a program called "Off the Beaten Path" on Sunday nights. And my local university station has a few good themed programs, I like the taste of the jazz program's DJ.

Thank Dhog for my iPod.
posted by daveadams at 12:57 PM on March 3, 2003


mrgrimm: the "other alternatives" we have (like the internet) are probably only good for the literate and interested.

victors:

Meanwhile I guess I don't agree with the previous caller: I'm not convinced protecting sucker kids from evil rock and roll rip-off assholes is the best use of Feingold's time and energy.

Read this slashdot comment. If radio/label higher-ups are willing to get upset and pull a song whose airtime was paid by legitimate advertising dollars (thereby breaking a contract), what makes anyone think they wouldn't do the same with political advertising they didn't like?

mrgrimm:

it may not be as important now that we've got other avenues of free expression and information (most notably online),

I think we mostly agree, but I'm a bit more pessimistic about the usefulness of the internet to the general population. It makes the information more available, but the problem is that people tend to conserve focus, and are more likely to take in what washes over them while on the radio dial than they are to go looking for a real analysis of something (and less so gathering lots of little facts and making their own analysis)
posted by namespan at 1:08 PM on March 3, 2003


XM Radio is partially owned by Clear Channel. Yuck. Jeff Sabatini wrote a review of XM Radio back in April 2002, for Glorious Noise. [Full disclosure: I run GLONO.]
posted by elvissinatra at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2003


what makes anyone think they wouldn't do the same with political advertising they didn't like?

oh, they try that every day, sometimes it happens sometimes not.

There may be complexities I do see (may be) but the kids are still suckers, the record/media execs still greedy shameless weasels and the politicians still grandstanding on pop culture "issues".

Feingold is my hero for taking the finance reform sword in the belly -- all I'm saying is this one seems a little thinner.
posted by victors at 1:54 PM on March 3, 2003


complexities I don't see

up to Frued
posted by victors at 1:58 PM on March 3, 2003


And on elvissinatra's note, I love the crisp and refreshing flavor of Pepsi Blue. I mean, seriously--a FPP that uses the traditional advertising technique of "make up a phony problem, and then solve it." (Listerine invented halitosis, and most every infomercial uses something similar--how many people really were looking for a better way to microwave eggs, prior to the EggWave?)

Just don't listen to the radio, or only listen to independent stations, or (my choice) listen to a CD. People who listen to Clear Channel's top 40 station(s) aren't coerced--they want to hear whatever is deemed to be fresh and hip at the moment. Good for them.
posted by LimePi at 4:21 PM on March 3, 2003


speaking of They Might Be Giants they're in studio right now at wfuv
posted by goddam at 4:24 PM on March 3, 2003


TMBGFilter! Woo!
posted by Vidiot at 7:37 PM on March 3, 2003


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